Resilience in Motion: Through Jessie Ling’s eyes

Image credit: Jessie’s personal image bank

Embarking on a trail run/hike spanning 1600km through the majestic Himalayas might sound like a dream adventure, but for Jessie Ling and her friend Samantha Gash, it was a journey of resilience, purpose, and heartfelt dedication. They took on this incredible challenge not just for personal growth and achievement, but to make a difference in the lives of others by raising funds for Men’s mental health (Movember) and supporting the ‘Rapantaran’ project by World Vision Aus in rural Nepal.

Let’s get to know Jessie Ling:

  • Give us a background on yourself and how long have you been into endurance sports etc?

My name is Jess Ling and I’m a General Practitioner – originally from Tasmania though have been locuming in the Kimberly region this year. I grew up in an adventurous and outdoor loving family, so have been exploring the outdoors since a young age. My Dad was an outdoor education teacher so we grew up bushwalking, surfing, mountain-biking and generally getting outdoors whenever we could. I’ve been long distance hiking since my teenage years and got into ultra-distance running in my early 20s. Exploring mountain trails with friends is still one of my favourite ways to spend the day.

Image by: Jessie Ling

How long have you been friends with Sam and how did this expedition come about?

Sam and I only met at the start of 2022, though we developed a strong bond straight away. A mutual friend had put us in contact to do a hike through the Western Arthurs in Tasmania together. While traversing the trails we found out we both had plans of undertaking a traverse across Nepal. After a few years of COVID halting all travel plans, we decided to head off in late 2022. It was a jam packed few months of intense expedition planning, fundraising and studying for my final General Practice exams, though I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We both love being in wild places, learning about the cultures we’re immersing ourselves in and using adventure as a medium to challenge ourselves.

A personal image from Jessie

Why a traverse of the Nepali Himalayas? It all began with my Dad, who spent 30 years exploring the region, leading treks, and mountaineering. His captivating slide shows of grand mountains, Tibetan faces, and vibrant culture left an indelible mark. Visiting Nepal with him at 15yo brought my dreams to life. And now years on, getting to share the acclimatisation trek with Dad on this expedition was precious. His infectious excitement and knowledge fueled our preparation. The Himalayas hold a cherished place in our hearts, and returning here is an emotional and meaningful experience beyond words.

A personal shot of Jessie and her dad hiking the acclimatisation track

What were some of the hardest and most rewarding memories from the trip?

There were many physical and mental challenges from the planning stages through to undertaking our expedition. Road and trail networks change so quickly in Nepal so most maps (even if only 12-24 months only) were obsolete in some areas, and there were new trails not marked on any maps. Initially having many of our meticulously planned itinerary get shattered by extreme weather events was crushing. However, we quickly gained some perspective when we saw the impact these extreme floods, snow blizzards and landslides had on the local people with many losing their lives or livelihood. This change from disappointment to gratitude was a powerful reminder of how significantly our mental strength impacts our outlook.

There were many rewarding highlights along the journey, especially meeting some of the communities we were fundraising for in Chisapani and seeing first-hand the impact donations were having in these regions. Finding a way to keep moving forward, in any way or form, when obstacles kept piling up was another incredibly fulfilling part of our expedition. Sharing laughter, bird bath wipe downs, dhal bhats and wholeheartedly relying on each other for several months while moving through the magnificent mountains of Nepal was incredibly special.  

Image by: David Byrne from The Rusty Cage

What are your top 5 hiking/ trail running destinations?

The Nepali Himalayas (obviously)

John Muir Trail – California

The French Alps – especially the running trials around Chamonix

Western Arthurs in Tasmania’s south west

The Rocky Mountains in British Columbia

What is next on your adventure horizon?

I’m currently training with the Australian Antarctic Division Polar Medicine Unit before heading down to Antarctica as a medical doctor at the end of the year. I can’t wait to get back to the beautiful southern continent and spend the summer exploring, throwing myself into scientific projects, skiing and hopefully not too many medical emergencies!

See the movie Resilience in Motion on screens now! Last min tix HERE

DID YOU KNOW? You can now stream the 2023 Gutsy Girls Film Tour right from Adventure Reels TV HERE